Wednesday, November 07, 2007


TechEd day 3

Today definitely benefitted from a good night's sleep - I even managed breakfast.

[[Add stuff that I did]]

Justin wanted to take in the Champions League match but there was no way we would get any tickets so we settled on finding a pub with a TV after grabbing some food.

As I was walking along Carrer de Jaume I on the way to meet Justin, around 7pm, I entered a very noisy Pla├ža de Sant Jaume. There seemed to be dozens on young women with flags and whistles singing and, I assume, protesting about something outside the Oficina de Turisme. Any ideas what they are doing would be much appreciated.

This part of town is great for little side roads (like Carrera de la Boqueria) with shops and people but I was in a hurry so didn't have much time to browse. Soon I was on La Rambla and meeting up with my colleague. Food was a little hard to find as some places didn't open up their kitchens until 8pm but Justin soon found an Indian Restaurant for us. I was a bit wary as the menu outside had a nice, large UK flag on it to attract British tourists but we went in anyway - how different could it be?

On the whole, not too much - they sold Kingfisher and Cobra just like back home. And popadoms too but these arrived as crispy tubes rather than flat disks with only one bowl of spicy raita? Where's the right orange stuff or the mango chutney, chopped onions and lethal lime pickle? After mixed pakora starters, we had a main. I'd asked for mushroom rice to go with the fish dish and that got a surprised look but the waiter quickly put something together for me. On the whole a safe experience, especially as there were no proper tourists in there to embarrass me.

Next was a hunt for a sports pub and Justin, who seemed to have a knack for this, pulled us into a Paddy Pub jam-packed with 'Gers fans - or at least it seemed full as they were all clustered in the doorway leaving a lot of space at the back. I say "a lot" with reservations - the pub was quite small but still sported three large flat-screen TVs (two for the downstairs audience and one for the small balcony which also hosted cublicle with the token urinal). Quite a cosmopolitan affair - Justin and the owner of the bar were from the US, the fans were Scottish and Italian, and I was English, all in an supposedly Irish pub. Drinking Bulmers from large cardboard cups.

Justin did ask me to teach him some football songs but I didn't really know what the Rangers fans were singing (apart from "Rule Brittania" and the National Anthem). Had to explain unionist/protestant demographic of the club as a fan draped in a Northern Ireland flag staggered past us.

The Barca-Rangers match wasn't too exciting. The Scots didn't really have much chance - I'm sure that if they had scored it would have just irritated their hosts into putting even more past Allan McGregor.

I decided to hang around while Justin went back to his hotel so I could soak up some of the atmosphere. In this case "atmosphere" started off as the unwanted attention of prostitutes and guys selling loose cans of beer but it improved as more Scottish fans arrived from the ground. A couple of beers and it was off back to the hotel, trusty AutoRoute map in hand...

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